Vicki 1st in Foxy Hall of Fame

2013-05-02 11:02

The new Foxy Hall of Fame recognises and pays tribute to females in the automotive world, who are leading and inspiring other women to follow in their footsteps.

Foxy is the UK's Foxy Lady Drivers' Club and its first Hall of Fame inductee is Vicki Butler-Henderson who presents the motoring show Fifth Gear.

Not only does she race fast cars but also features regularly on radio, runs driver-training days, has written books, hosts conferences and award ceremonies.


She took some time away from her busy motoring schedule, to answer some questions on her career:

Q: When did you first realise you were a better driver than most men and how did you set about making this your career?

I'm not sure about the first part! Tiff Needell is still a better driver than me. I started racing 100cc karts from age 12 and continued until I was 17 and knew from an early age that cars must be in my life.

At 17 I progressed to race cars and started career in journalism in a variety of car magazines.

Q: Many women buy cars for practical reasons rather than driving excitement. We suspect you have performance high on your "must have" list of features, so what car do you drive for everyday motoring and could any others make it on to your future shopping list?

As well as asking what power a new car has, I'm also interested in the fuel economy! I run a 4.4 V8 petrol Range Rover so I know how ridiculous petrol prices are for big engines. For a bit of balance I have just welcomed a Ford B-Max into the fold and am so excited that I can now pass most petrol stations!

Q: Your book "Vicki Butler-Henderson's 100 Sexiest Cars" does what it says on the cover but we'd like to know which car, regardless of cost, is your favourite and why?

I'm really surprised that a car I drove in 1999/2000 is still my favourite - the Lamborghini Diablo GT. There are no traction control aids on it so it's very much a proper driver's car and I went to Lambo's HQ to pick it up, which was a bit special.

Q: Many women says they'd like to know how to handle their car's performance, particularly in the rain. Is there a training programme you can recommend for females?

Driving a car is exactly the same for a woman as it is a man, so ANY extra driving tuition you search out will be great. I run a course in conjunction with Porsche at its fantastic purpose-built facility very close to the Silverstone racing circuit in Northamptonshire.

It's a theory session (lots of giggles) and then loads of time in your OWN car, whether it's a Nissan Micra, pick-up truck, or Ferrari. You are taught to catch a skid and induce a slide on the very low-friction surfaces, so there's no wear on your tyres. It's called YouDrive@Porsche.

Q: Many men consider themselves better drivers than women, how do they treat you when they see that isn't true in your case?

I've always let my driving do the talking and so far it's done the trick!

Q: We're thrilled to see Danica Patrick do so well in the US though we'd prefer her to be acknowledged more for her racing achievements than her looks. How have you fared in your racing career to date and what advice and encouragement can you give budding female racing drivers?

I've been very lucky to turn a hobby into a career, albeit not a racing one. Not many are so fortunate - for every one F1 driver I could name you ten who are just as talented but who didn't have the luck and money at the right time.

My advice would be to race because you love it, be prepared to work hard for every place on the track and for every cent of sponsorship.

Q: Many drivers find motoring tricky enough to get from A to B but you often have to drive with a camera on board while telling us what you think. Does the camera come with a human being and does this affect your driving concentration?

When we film on a racing circuit our speeds are so high and the cornering forces so strong that it's not feasible to put a cameraman alongside us so we attach very small cameras to the windscreen and windows to capture everything.

The microphones are on our seat belt and then there might be a whacking great bright light pointing at us from the bonnet!

We've all been doing it so long now that we are not affected by these at all.

I love it all!

  • Bernard Visagie - 2013-05-02 12:05

    Well deserved Vicky, always been great on Fifth Gear. Next one could probably be Sabine Schmitz?

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